Public Agenda
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Don't Count Us Out

How an Overreliance on Accountability Could Undermine the Public's Confidence in Schools, Business, Government & More

At a time when citizens can hardly read a newspaper article about government, education, philanthropy, business or healthcare that doesn't talk about accountability and the imperative of institutions to provide more information to citizens, new research from Public Agenda and the Kettering Foundation presents startling evidence that the public and leaders hold vastly different ideas about what it even means to be accountable. The report, “Don’t Count Us Out: How an Overreliance on Accountability Could Undermine the Public’s Confidence in Schools, Business, Government and More,” is based on new public opinion research. It outlines the five key dimensions of accountability as the public defines it and contrasts the public’s perspective with prevailing leadership views. The study also highlights three recent controversies—the mortgage crisis, school closings, and government recommendations on mammograms—to demonstrate how differing ideas about accountability propel miscommunication and misunderstanding.


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